Jump to content

David Belle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David Belle
Belle at the New Yorker Festival 2007
David Nicolas Williams Belle[1]

(1973-04-29) April 29, 1973 (age 51)
Occupation(s)Celebrity, Choreographer, Stunt coordinator
Known forParkour, film District 13
Parent(s)Raymond Belle (father)
Monique Kitten (mother)

David Nicolas Williams Belle (born 29 April 1973) is a French actor, film choreographer and stunt coordinator. He is deemed the founder and leading pioneer of the physical discipline parkour, coining it based on his training and the teachings from his father Raymond Belle.[2]

Belle came to fame via his parkour videos and film appearances, such as District 13, District 13: Ultimatum, which were written and produced by Luc Besson, and the American remake Brick Mansions. Belle has also consulted on the making of Babylon A.D., Prince of Persia, Colombiana and The Family. He is the chair of the Parkour Committee of the International Federation of Gymnastics.[3]

Life and career


Belle was born and raised in Fécamp, the son of Monique and Raymond Belle of Paris. His grandfather Gilbert Kitten, father Raymond, and brother Jean-François Belle were highly skilled rescuers in the Military Paris Fire Brigade.[4][5] His father Raymond Belle was from Vietnam, and was of French-Vietnamese descent, while his mother Monique Kitten was of French and English ancestry.

David Belle began developing parkour in Normandy while living with his grandfather, Gilbert.[6][7] In 1984, at the age of 11, Belle moved to Lisses, France. He made close friends with a group of teenagers with similar physical passions who began training with him, transferring the techniques he learned in Normandy to an urban environment. Some of the friends that trained with David would later become known as the Yamakasi. Later in life, Belle spent time in the military and fire brigade with aspirations of following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps. David left soon after for personal reasons, as he felt the regimented life of the military was antithetical to his character. During his time in the Marines, he set the Regimental record for rope climbing (which was previously held by his father, Raymond) and earned a certificate of honor for his gymnastic abilities.[8]

Upon completing his national service, he worked in various professions including a warehouse worker, security guard and furniture salesman. He also spent 3 months in India studying kung fu. After his return he continued his training in parkour and filmed footage of his capabilities which he later turned into the famous Speed Air Man video. In 1997 the Stade 2 team were shown a video of Belle and decided to film the first news broadcast featuring him and the Yamakasi.[9]

In filming this news feature, the term Yamakasi was used for the first time in connection with the team. Belle did not approve of the name and felt like it did not give credit to his father, so he split from the group after the feature. Later Belle would go on to train other students who gave themselves the name 'tracer.' The spelling was later adapted to 'traceur', and has since been used to define a practitioner of parkour.

Belle was first introduced to his acting career in a meeting with Hubert Koundé (La Haine), in order to discuss the success of parkour in cinema. He then began developing his acting ability with the play Pygmalion, and has since been successful in obtaining a number of roles mostly in French films and promotions. Belle has been featured in promotional videos for Tina Turner, and Iam. He has starred in "Les gens du voyages" and "Un monde meilleur", followed by "L'Engrenages" and "Femme Fatale", as well as "Les rivières pourpres 2", starring Jean Reno. After filming several more advertisements and promotions for the BBC, Nissan, Canon, and Nike, Belle was contacted by Luc Besson (director of Nikita, and The Fifth Element) regarding co-starring as lead actor with Cyril Raffaelli in the action movie District 13, followed by the sequel District 13: Ultimatum. Belle co-starred with Paul Walker in Brick Mansions (2014), a remake of District 13.



Film and television

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Louis Page Laurent 1 Episode
2001 Engrenage, L Le créancier
2002 Femme Fatale French Cop
2004 District 13 Leïto Parkour film debut
2005 Un monde meilleur Good Guy #1
2008 Babylon A.D. Hacker Kid -
2009 District 13: Ultimatum Leïto
2012 Métal Hurlant Chronicles Red Light 1 Episode
2013 Malavita Mezzo
2014 Brick Mansions Lino Duppre District 13 Remake
2014 Jaya Jaya (Short)
2016 Super Express Gary
2018 Defying Chase
2019 The Ultimate Code
2019 Invisible Tattoo
2020 Rogue City Bronx (in French)


Year Title/Company Notes
2000 Ménélik – Limbo Negro Music video
2000 Ford Commercial
2002 BBC One Advertising Campaign
2002 Lester Bilal feat. David Belle – Vibration Music video
2002 Canon Commercial
2002 Nike Commercial
2002 Nissan Commercial
2003 Crimson Rivers II: Angels of the Apocalypse Stunt Coordinator
2005 Transporter 2 Stunt Coordinator
2010 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Stunt Coordinator
2011 Covert Affairs Stunt Coordinator
2011 Colombiana Stunt Coordinator

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Dying Light Antoine Merpe Also Mo-Cap, Stunt Coordinator & Counseling
2022 Dying Light 2 Hakon Also Mo-Cap, Stunt Coordinator & Counseling

Endorsements and groups


Belle largely stays out of the public spotlight. His last major appearance was when he appeared as a guest at the New Yorker Festival in 2007. Belle was interviewed for the parkour article "No Obstacles" written by Alec Wilkinson which was published in April 2007.[10]

Belle formerly endorsed the clothing company Take Flight, but decided to sever his ties to the brand because he disapproved of their business activities and motives.[11]

See also



  1. ^ "David Nicolas Williams Belle". USPTO.
  2. ^ "David Belle: Founder of Parkour Interview". parkulture.com. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  3. ^ H.G. (6 October 2017). "Parkour's street stuntmen resent the sport's new organisers". The Economist.
  4. ^ "David Belle". zoom-cinema.fr. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2011. nous sommes le 29 avril 1973 à Fécamp. Naissance de David Belle(...)Suivant les traces de son père, Raymond Belle, et de son grand-père, Gilbert Kitten, David Belle rejoint les sapeurs pompiers de Paris puis les troupes de marine à Vannes
  5. ^ "David Belle". parkourpedia.com (Original French biography referenced to David-Belle.com which no longer exists). Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2011. David Belle was born on 29 April 1973 in Fécamp, in the Seine-Maritime département in Normandy. Descended from a modest family from the Parisian suburbs, it was in Fécamp and later in the town of Sables d'Olonne that David spent the first fourteen years of his life. Raised by his maternal grandfather, Gilbert Kitten (former sergeant-major of the Parisian sapeurs-pompiers military fire service), David was impressed by tales of heroism, and developed from a young age a passion for anything to do with action.
  6. ^ Witfeld, Jan (2013). The Ultimate parkour & freerunning book : discover your possibilities. Maidenhead: Meyer & Meyer sport. p. 22. ISBN 978-1782550204. "There, he transferred the techniques he had learned in the forests of Normandy to the urban environment"
  7. ^ "BBC film's rooftop stunts 'real'". 19 April 2002.
  8. ^ Hardman, Alun; Jones, Carwyn (13 September 2010). Philosophy of Sport: International Perspectives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-4438-2546-7.
  9. ^ Angel, Julie (2016). Breaking the jump : the secret story of parkour's high-flying rebellion. London. p. 4. ISBN 978-1781315545.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ "No Obstacles". The New Yorker. 9 April 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  11. ^ "The Website of David Belle". DavidBelle.com. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2011.